Abortion Essay

1521 words - 7 pages

In this paper, I will be defining act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism, use both standpoints from a rule utilitarian and an act utilitarian to decipher their responses to abortion, and investigate both claims to come to a conclusion if or if not utilitarianism is adequate enough argument to address abortion.
First the definition of utilitarianism is, “An act is morally right if and only if it does more to improve overall happiness than any available alternative” (Farley). Overall happiness can also be used interchangeably by the words, happiness, pleasure or well-being. There are two types of utilitarians, the first is an act utilitarian, in which they seek actions that produce the greatest good. Act utilitarianism is more dependent on the results of a particular action and not the expectations. The main argument for act utilitarianism is, “What is the particular outcome we expect X to have?” (Farley). Whereas rule utilitarianism is more swayed towards the consequences that will come from this particular action as adopted as a social rule (Farley). Adopted by social rule meaning, we as a society what rules to enforce and the consequences. There is no rule that society has to follow all the time.
Act utilitarians believe that intentions do not matter to the rightness/wrongness of actions, instead the action is right if and only if that is the action that produces the greatest amount of good in that situation. Actions are right or wrong in virtue of their actual results, not expected results (Farley). In saying this, the issue of abortion can be examined by act utilitarians by using their arguments and reasoning. For the act utilitarian, each case of abortion has to be considered and weighed in different ways because each situation has different aspects features. Since act utilitarians believe that an action is right or wrong according to which action produces the greatest amount of good. So if a parent decides not to get an abortion and has the baby, and the baby grows up to live a terrible life filled with misery and unhappiness, then in this case abortion would be morally impermissible. If the parents, family members, or anyone involved with abortion is effected in a negative way that outweighs the positives, then abortion is morally impermissible again. In another case, if an abortion produces more good than bad in the parents, babies, or anyone else involved in the abortion, then abortion is morally permissible. Some parents do not want children or were not expecting to have a baby, and they get an abortion and later in life they are happier without the baby, then abortion is morally permissible. So in both cases what makes abortion morally permissible or impermissible depends on if that abortion would produce the greatest amount of good from having an abortion. I think the result would depend on the situation because in one scenario, abortion is morally permissible and with that comes a variety of different outcomes than if...

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